One of the hardest things for me to manage being a single mom and an entrepreneur was the accounting and money side of my business.
I wasn’t handling the situation ‘like a boss’ – it was more like 3rd grade arts and crafts.
Does that sound familiar? I know I’m certainly not alone. I start with good intentions, every year – but time would get the better of me.
I understand what needs to be done, I realize I need to keep accurate records – and that in order to both grow my business with awareness and supply the tax folks what they need – I have to be on top of things.
It’s almost worse knowing enough to know what needs to be done, and yet another year comes and goes and I am scrambling last minute to get all the necessary paperwork done while drowning in numbers, GST reports and stuff they never bothered teaching you in school. ( Really? That’s another blog topic entirely) It is stressful, agonizing and just damn hard. It is also a process that doesn’t HAVE to be so self abusive. I beat myself up about it – again, every year – and realize the insanity of it all as I am left feeling stupid, non productive and really far behind.
A majority of the advice I would get out there would be to hire a bookkeeper and accountant to manage my books for me. This is all sound and logical, but when you are just starting up a business that may not be the most possible of solutions, financially speaking. Adding on yet another expense just seemed like too much in the beginning. I understood that it would save me time, which of course translates to money, but I just could never get it working for me. I would STILL need to get all my paperwork in some kind of order for the bookkeeper. And, if you are the kind of person who cleans the house up before the house cleaner arrives – you get how absurd this process can get.
We are human – sometimes the best thing to do, isn’t the easiest thing to do and we need to get ourselves there in stages. I think it’s ok to identify this and accept it. Growth happens when you allow it to happen – which means just realizing you have some weird habits that really don’t help much day to day, yet not beating yourself up about it. Just love yourself anyway.
One of the BIGGEST obstacles to work with as a single parent entrepreneur is finding enough time to do everything that needs to be done. We are constantly in a state of organized chaos, and sometimes disorganized chaos ( on those really crazy days) and finding the time to even shoe box up all the receipts for a bookkeeper seems as daunting as climbing mount everest would be – and climbing it unprepared, unconditioned and without the proper equipment. It’s a meticulous task and you need to know what you are doing to get it done – and every parent knows that the meticulous jobs often get left behind, swept under the couch to be found at a later date and to be dealt with by ‘future self’ – it’s ok. We all do it and it is understandable with all that we have going on.
So, when a solution and ‘middle ground’ or ‘MacGyver fix’ is offered and suddenly becomes available as a product to purchase it can seem like a dream come true. And recently, this became a reality in the way of an online accounting program through Quickbooks.
Quickbooks is now offering data entry, bookkeeping and accounting support by way of an online program that links to your business accounts and allows you to:
- Receive payments
- Record expenses
- Create reports
This is miraculous! Why? Because this online program is available to smart phones as an app – so you are truly mobile and can essentially take your bookkeeper with you everywhere you go.
How does this translate into saving time?
There are a few things that have really stood out for me:
- When you have a lunch meeting with a client, you can input that expense with your phone right after you are done, and you can even take a photo of the receipt to keep it on hand ( no more of that shoebox) and endless data entry.
- You can invoice clients straight from your phone – no more having to wait until you get home to your main computer. Invoice on the move when needed.
- You can connect to your bank account to track all expenses as they come in. Brilliant! Avoiding any kind of data entry is bloody fantastic in my books ( pun intended).
- It tracks GST payments – both what you charge and what you have paid out – thus offering up your quarterly report for you with the click of one button. ONE button. I swear, this is better than chocolate cake right now.
- It tracks invoices that are pending and lets you know they need attention ( something that can get easily lost if things get busy) You can also receive payments online via credit card – so your client gets a link to make a payment and VOILA – it is done.
- It tracks and categorizes all of your expenses as they come in – so again, when it comes down to tax time you are looking at a time investment of what it takes to click a button to generate a report. AAhhh…serenity now.
- You can invite an accountant to view your information – so, when that time comes when you are ready to hire a professional, you’ll have something organized to offer them. This gives me incredible peace of mind as a recovering perfectionist – it can be those small things that make a BIG difference.
I could go on and on about the positives of this software, but these are the essential points for me and I’m sure they will be just as seductive to you if you also have had difficulty with this process in the past.
There is nothing better than the feeling of being ‘ahead’ of the game with your books and it frees up your mind to focus on more important things. Like, actually running your business and spending time with your family.
I would highly recommend signing up for this program. It is $13/month right now as an introductory for a small business and you can level up as needed ( payroll etc). Anything that streamlines the process and gives us MORE time is worth every penny you spend on it. It also has a FREE one month trial so you can try it before you buy it. But, I wager to bet you’ll be ready to buy within a week of using it.
You can also go one step further further and track your budget for both home and business with a new product called ‘MINT‘ – this is another online program from Intuit that I have nothing but good things to say about. It also links up to your accounts securely and tracks your spending for you and offers advice on how to lessen costs in certain areas, and if you are going over your budget at any time. It provides goal setting tools that helps you to pay off debt, save for a trip or anything else that you need to plan for. And this software is FREE!
With these two wonderful bits of technology working with you, even the most ‘number challenged’ person can have a clean, organized and professional approach to their money. And, when you are organized and clear with your money, your money will flow better all around.
Being able to tackle chaos and get a handle on some of the more monstrous time suckers is incredibly powerful. You will feel proud of yourself, you’ll feel accomplished and you’ll feel productive. What you FEEL day to day is what you will continue to bring into your life – so anywhere you can give yourself a break and find ways to support yourself to get the things you need to get done – DO IT!
As a group( single parent entrepreneur) we are notorious for taking on a ridiculous amount of tasks. Never mind the ‘lion’s share’ of work, we shoulder the weight of the world at times. We are used to doing things alone and so often we continue to do so for as long as we can. This is not the best process to follow as there is only so much one person can do. It is wise, and a smart business move – as well as a smart parenting move – to ask for support when needed and to invest in products and services that make life easier.
So, on that note – Intuit gets a BIG THUMBS up from me for creating some very useful and timesaving products and resources for us crazy lot. We’ve needed it. Now we can deal with tax time like a BOSS! And even look good while doing it.
Have you used these products? Let me know how they have helped you in the comment section below.
This endorsement is not paid for by Intuit – it is based on my testing the product and finding it a more than suitable resource for single parent entrepreneurs and worthy of mention.